Affidavits OK, but voters urged to find right spots

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 24, 2001

[05/24/01] Voters not on the city poll books at precincts where they regularly vote in county and state elections will still be allowed to cast an affidavit ballot on June 5, but will be encouraged to go to the correct polling place.

Vicksburg election officials met with poll workers Wednesday to provide last-minute instructions and answer questions that were raised after primary voting earlier this month. A question brought up by poll workers dealt with if they should allow voters to cast an affidavit ballot at one polling place if the voter is assigned in another precinct.

Confusion results here in that some voting places used in all elections have different sets of voters assigned to them in municipal elections versus county, state and federal elections. Mixups were intensified since the statewide flag vote was April 17 and party primaries May 1. Many voters incorrectly returned to the same polling places where they voted two weeks earlier.

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletter

Receive daily headlines and obituaries

“We’re going to let anyone vote affidavit if they want to,” said City Clerk Walter Osborne. “But we should encourage them to go to the precinct where they are registered.”

Some people had complained after the primary election that voters who were told to go to a different precinct opted not to vote instead.

Other issues addressed were questions raised last week by Vicksburg attorney Bobby Bailess on behalf of mayoral candidate Laurence Leyens. Bailess had asked the commission for clarification regarding election day procedures including who would be allowed in the polling places during voting.

“This job is important and we want to do it right,” election commission chairman Lurline Green told 19 poll workers from the city’s 11 precincts.

In a letter provided to the poll workers and the candidates, Green wrote that only people who were voting and the designated poll watchers will be allowed in the precincts.

“It is the bailiffs’ duty to enforce the 150-foot rule outside of the precinct,” Green said.

Green said voters must be allowed privacy unless they ask for assistance. She said that it was the job of the poll workers to ensure that no one interfered with citizen’s rights to vote for the candidates of their choice.

On the June 5 ballot, Mayor Robert Walker, 57, who won the Democratic nomination in the primary election, is facing challenges from independent candidates Leyens, 37, Eva Marie Ford, 63, and Joe Loviza, 61.

Incumbent Gertrude Young, 45, who also won the Democratic nomination in primary voting, will face Sylvester Walker, 40, for the North Ward alderman’s seat.

In the South Ward, Republican primary winner, Sidney H. Beauman Jr., 52, and Democratic primary winner Pam Johnson, 35, will face independent candidates Vickie Bailey, 33, and Ashlea Mosley, 18. Incumbent Sam Habeeb did not seek re-election.